On 19 May, the ng Connect Program held a workshop in Auckland, New Zealand as part of Auckland’s inaugural Techweek event. The week included 55 events and 86 different speakers. Because of the ng Connect Program’s previous interactions with the city on projects like the Connected Bus Shelter market trial, the city requested that the ng Connect team run a one day workshop with members of the local technology community. Jason Collin’s, Vice President of IoT Market Development for Nokia, kicked off the day with an overview of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its sizable market potential. This presentation highlighted why IoT projections are so large, with Moore’s Law and Metcalf’s Law combining to serve as catalysts for the IoT to become reality. He discussed how silo m2m instances lead to SoTs (subnets of things), which will eventually lead to the vision of IoT, or massive connectedness between things and information, thereby realizing the full potential predicted by Metcalf’s Law. Also covered was the idea that secure and scalable horizontal platforms will be a key enabler of the achievement of the IoT vision. This presentation got the audience excited and was a great lead into two panel sessions.
The first panel session was on agriculture and was quite insightful. Panelists included David Walker of Spark, lead in their agriculture segment (and is himself a dairy farmer), Tony Walters, a dairy farmer that has successfully experimented with technology in his business, and Hamish Gates, who is a grower/warehouse/exporter of horticultural products.
This panel generated lots of lively discussion focused on needs, issues, and opportunities. Some notable comments from the session included the need to collect data to provide proof of regulatory compliance, data to allow for better decisions about feeding and fertilizing, the need for end to end data from field to pack house to customer, and more.
The second panel session, focused on livable cities, was also thought provoking. Panel members included Jim Quinn, Chief of Strategy for Auckland Council, Russell O’Brien, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ATEED, and John Mauro, Chief Sustainability Officer, Auckland Council.
Discussions from this session included the impact of projected population growth and the need to deal with the growth in a sustainable way. Also of note, is the growing trend for cities to have trade relations with other cities versus country to country, as well as the need to enable real time citizen engagement.
Using what was learned from the panels, the attendees formed teams that brainstormed potential solutions to a specific problem. The solutions were presented and received feedback on their viability by workshop participants voting on the level of innovation and business models. There were ideas in the areas of transportation, city branding and citizen engagement, agribusiness, and data-driven cities.
The day wrapped up with a networking reception for participants and an invitation to join the ng Connect Program.
The next day, ng Connect Program members convened to develop 2016 priorities for New Zealand. The team reviewed the outcomes of day one, current solution concepts in some phase of development, and market trials underway. Action plans were developed to pursue prototypes and solution concepts for smart street furniture and flood control monitoring, and to further scope potential ecosystem IoT opportunities in agriculture and enablers for data mining.
As seems to have become the norm in New Zealand, there was lots of enthusiasm to get the teams started and to create solutions that turn into market trials and commercial opportunities. We look forward to sharing their progress!